In my last blog post, I talked about my yearning to show up in my life more present and to do more of the things I enjoy, with writing being high on the list. I’m very familiar with that special feeling of being whole-heartedly present. I think all of us know it, even if it’s fleeting or even if you can’t name it at the time. Often you can’t predict it, you can’t even try for it, it’s a moment that just sneaks up on you and fills you with goodness. A feeling that can be described as light, freeing, peaceful, liberating and whole. If you have this feeling frequently, consider it a blessing, as many of us struggle with it.
I’ve noticed a change in my mindset over the last 8 weeks. I was feeling really deflated, like I had no spare time and couldn’t fit in the things that I love doing outside of my usual daily obligations. But if I break my schedule down to the minute, time is abundant. I just needed to change how I looked at it.
Monday – Friday 7am-7pm is dedicated to getting prepped for work, commuting to and from work, and then actually doing work. Then fitting in 1-2 hours of exercise every other day, prepping and cleaning up dinner and then the usual house chores and maintenance. We all know the drill and we know it well. If I manage to get my ideal minimum of 7 hours of sleep, I am left with 1 hour of free time during the week. It’s a grind and I am aware of that, but this is London and I chose to be here. There’s absolutely no point playing victim, making excuses or complaining about it. The only empowering option is to find a solution that works.
While I’m still exploring a few different ideas, here is a list of 10 things that took me from being tired to energized, stagnated to inspired and foggy to clairvoyant over the past couple of months.
1. Leave White Space for You.
‘White Space’ meaning open space in your calendar, invisible or not. Personally, I need to set the re-charge button on weekends, so it’s crucial to leave some free time for myself to relax and unwind, be it yoga, reading, park walks, going to a café or just pottering around in my room. It cannot be skipped.
2. Organise the little things within reach.
I have to be ultra organised in my day-to-day job, so my personal life sometimes suffers as I feel less inclined to always be switched on in my down time. I found it helpful to systemize the little things within reach, as they eventually mold into the big things, such as tedious tasks like chores, groceries, and banking.
3. Make exercise a non-negotiable priority.
I started practicing Yoga 5 years ago and it changed my life. While I was always doing some kind of fitness (sports/gym) Yoga has helped me on a greater scale. To name a few, the practice has supported a couple ongoing sport injuries, increased my energy levels, improved my flexibility, posture, blood circulation and digestive system. Additionally, Yoga reaches the nervous system and helps calm the mind, which is part of the magic. I’ve concluded that Yoga is my medicine and I need it. Whatever exercise you enjoy, make it a none-negotiable priority.
4. Listen to people who speak with positive language (authentically).
Simply put, positive language encourages positive thoughts and negative language encourages negative thoughts. If you’re going to listen or take advice from anyone, take it from those with an abundant mind-set and a vocabulary that is reflective of it. Sure, we all need a little rant every now and again, sure there are time’s when we are down, but avoid those who dwell on the downside. Keep a few inspiring people in your back pocket, be it a coach, author, family member or friend.
5. Escape the analytical mind through play, dance and laughter.
Life can be so serious. We all need to add a bit of lightness to it. What better way to do that than through play? Play as much as possible, bring out the kid inside you and let your silliness break free in whatever form it takes.
6. Say ‘No’ to participating in things that don’t resonate with you.
Compromise is a part of life and key to keeping the peace within relationships and groups. However, some things should not be compromised. It is so liberating to say ‘No’ to doing things that don’t interest you. Often, people can fall into the trap of obligations at the expense of their own integrity. We all need to compromise sometimes, but do not betray yourself in the process of pleasing someone else.
7. Acknowledge your Achievements.
In a world of comparisons it can be easy to look at someone else’s life and think they’ve got it all. It can be easy to hone in on what you might have done differently if you could push the rewind button. Check yourself, before you wreck yourself. Instead of spiraling down into dark places, hone in on what you have done right, what you wouldn’t have done differently and the blessings that came out of the good decisions that you did make. Celebrate yourself every now and again. You deserve it!
8. Stop and Smell the Roses – Literally!
Look around, on your way to work, to school, to the gym etc. It’s easy to put your head down and focus solely on getting from A to B, distracted by noises in the street, music, podcasts, or your own busy mind. Try slowing down and give yourself more time. I will seriously stop in my tracks to smell the roses or take notice of a bee, butterfly, or nice sunset ahead. One of favourite musicians Trevor Hall wrote, ‘Don’t let your blessings turn into stone.’ The little things will pass us by if we let them, take notice.
9. Predominately eat colourful whole foods.
Food is our fuel and eating healthy can change everything. Everyone has their own philosophy around food, but of the many podcasts, articles and books I have read, one concept is always on repeat, which is to eat colourful whole foods, with the Mediterranean diet being placed as one of the healthiest. I like how Michael Pollen simplifies the food debate ‘Eat food, not too much, mostly plants.’
10. Check in with yourself, set goals and ask tough questions.
Sometimes I feel like I’m getting pulled along with the breeze without getting to decide where it leads me. Check in with your dreams and goals to remind yourself what all the hard work is for. When you can answer your ‘Why?’ it becomes the biggest inspiration of all.
While I can definitely slip in following my own advice, I found that these 10 tips were really helpful in pulling me out of my rut and pushing me into the present, (intermittently of course ;)).
Thanks for reading!
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